Free meal project suspends its activities after query from Commissioner of Charities

Project Awareness, a programme to give low-income elderly people a free meal, has suspended its fund-raising activities. -- PHOTO: PROJECT AWARENESS FACEBOOK PAGE
Project Awareness, a programme to give low-income elderly people a free meal, has suspended its fund-raising activities. -- PHOTO: PROJECT AWARENESS FACEBOOK PAGE

Project Awareness, a programme to give low-income elderly people a free meal, has suspended its fund-raising activities.

This comes after the Commissioner of Charities (COC) wrote to its founder, singer Elson Soh, asking him to account for the donations he has received so far.

A notice on Project Awareness' Facebook page on Thursday said it is preparing documents for the COC "so that more transparency can be given to all parties".

While its on-going food programme will continue, other activities like appealing for funds and visiting the elderly will stop for now.

Mr Soh, 25, who founded Project Awareness in February, started the free meal programme in May and had been appealing for funds on its Facebook page.

The programme gives out food vouchers which can be used to redeem $2 meals from food stalls at a coffee shop in French Road.

A COC spokesman said that even though Project Awareness is not a registered charity and does not need to be one to conduct fund-raising activities, it has to comply with certain legal obligations under the Charities Regulations.

Last week, Mr Soh made a police report against a former volunteer, saying the volunteer paid stallholders for free meals when he was not authorised to do so.

The volunteer in turn said he paid the stallholders only because they had complained of not receiving money for the free meals.

COC is giving Mr Soh until next Wednesday to detail the procedures the project has put in place to ensure proper accountability to its donors.